Instagram This Week

Emily's new favourite lap.
Emily’s new favourite lap.
-30°C this morning on the prairie.  No walk today!
-30°C this morning on the prairie. No walk today!
Xmas morning carnage. Have a joyous day one and all!
Xmas morning carnage. Have a joyous day one and all!
The Xmas Norfolk pine at my parents. Merry merry to one and all!
The Xmas Norfolk pine at my parents. Merry merry to one and all!
Day 7: visiting neighbors. Kisses, not hisses!
Day 7: visiting neighbors. Kisses, not hisses!
Day 7: have found and lost tail several times. Still attempting capture.
Day 7: have found and lost tail several times. Still attempting capture.

Twitter Digest

My First Wikipedia Article

I generally use Wikipedia to look up pub dates for books I am reading and to keep track of series orders etc. Imagine my surprise when I looked up Blake Charlton — who has three books published by Tor — and there was no entry. While I have occasionally edited a Wikipedia article, I have never attempted to write one from scratch so this looked like a good opportunity.

I did a brief bit of research and outlined a brief entry (see below). Then I submitted it without creating an ID. This puts it into a hold queue waiting for review from more senior Wikipedians (Wikipediaites?) to review, approve or reject.

The interface is surprisingly easy to maneuver at first but it becomes increasingly more complex and arcane as you get down to details. Which is as it should be I suppose.

The queued entry can be seen here:

Blake Charlton

Blake Charlton (1979-) is an American science fiction author. He is the author of the Spellbreaker series published by Tor books and currently a cardiology fellow at the University of California San Francisco. As boy Charlton had to deal with severe dyslexia but has he managed to overcome his condition and learned to read fluently by the age of 13.

Blake’s non-fiction has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, The British Medical Journal, and The New York Times. and his science fiction short stories have appeared in the Seeds of Change and the Unfettered anthologies.

Charlton graduated summa cum laude from Yale University studying English Language and Literature and went on to graduate from Stanford Medical School.

The Spellwright trilogy is set in a world where languages for the basis for magic. Nicodemus Weal is a cacographer (similar to Charlton’s own dyslexia), who nonetheless is talented in magical languages. But his disability that causes misspelling in any text he touches.


Series fiction


  • Spellwright (2010, Tor Books, ISBN 0-7653-8856-8)
  • Spellbound (2011, Tor Books, ISBN 0-7653-5659-8)
  • Spellbreaker (2016, Tor Books, ISBN 0-7653-1729-2)



This entry created and uploaded as a part of the Ulysses testing process.

Instagram This Week

Day 6: Mastering Civilization VI? Check! #kittychecklist
Day 6: Mastering Civilization VI? Check! #kittychecklist
Day 5: No. No, I do not like bathes. #kittychecklist
Day 5: No. No, I do not like bathes. #kittychecklist
Day 4: obstructive napping? Check! #kittenchecklist
Day 4: obstructive napping? Check! #kittenchecklist
Day Three: mastered "helping" with the computer ...
Day Three: mastered “helping” with the computer …
Annual food bank run...done! #merryxmas #spreadthejoy #happyholidays
Annual food bank run…done! #merryxmas #spreadthejoy #happyholidays
Day 2. Everyone's settling in well.
Day 2. Everyone’s settling in well.
Welcoming Emily Dickens to our home. Happy B-day L.
Welcoming Emily Dickens to our home. Happy B-day L.

Twitter Digest

A Test-drive of Ulysses

A writing program

Ulysses is a writing program that I putzed with for about 5 minutes during NaNoWriMo but didn’t look at again. Then it turned out they were offering a few free copies of the software to lucky contestants in a draw. I entered. I won. So now I have my own fully functional copy of Ulysses to play with.

It features iCloud syncing, sheets that can be merged etc, export styles, and attachments. Ulysses is designed to make writing easier. I have generally used IA Writer Classic in the past because I have old version that work on my old first gen iPad. I am not sure yet if I will switch but that’s what this exercise is for.


Ulysses uses Markdown XL for formatting functions. I have previously dabbled in Markdown on the blog but this has a few more bells and whistles. The full list of available definitions is accessible via ?9 or the toolbar’s A| button.

I am writing these all down again as a reminder to myself and to practice getting used to the language.

Heads (preceded by pound symbols — one for each level)

quote: preceded by greater than (>) symbol

emphasis is ?I or a bracketed by single asterisks (*)

Bold is ?B or a bracketed by double asterisks (**)

A divider is 4 dashes



  • unordered lists
  • are preceded
  • by a dash
  • and a space
  1. ordered lists
  2. are preceded by
  3. the numeral,
  4. a period
  5. and the space

Add highlighted text (bracketed by double colons ::) or deletions (bracketed by double vertical bars ||)

Comments are bracketed by double plus symbols ++you can see this comment only because I overrode the code++

…or are paragraphs preceded by double percent signs

%% This is a comment paragraph, again visible 
because I used code to override

Text Objects

A Footnote1 Type (fn), enter your footnote text and hit Cmd-return

To add a link, type square brackets [ ] around a word or phrase (or use the ?K shortcut).

To add an annotation type curly brackets { } around a phrase, It is basically a note added to that phrase. I don’t think it exports.

<a href="sample code> is done by bracketing with the tick mark (found under the tilde). Entire paragraphs can be done by preceding with double single quote marks

code code code code etc

Executable code that won’t show in a pdf but will in a html doc can be made by using Raw Source: bracketing with double tildes or paragraphs preceded by double tildes.

So this ~~<a href="">A link to done manually in html</a>~~ appears as this:

A link to done manually in html
And finally, here’s a link to a pdf which seems to upload the file but not link properly to it when exported direct to WordPress. (Here’s the link since it did upload the pdf: A Test-drive of a Ulysses)

And that’s it for the Markdown portion of Ulysses. More to come…

  1. This is a footnote (it appears at the bottom with an automatic link) ?

Twitter Digest

Reposts etc.

When I started up I had intended it for a broader audience than my personal blog so that meant making some attempt at promotion was called for. Besides sharing links for each post on Facebook and Twitter, I also answered a call from to provide content for their site aggregator. They would repost the first couple of paragraphs and or images from a post that they thought was appropriate for their readership and then link to my site for the balance. They didn’t pick up every post I made but did contribute significantly to the traffic overall.

But not so long ago I was looking at the site stats and noticed that a whole bunch of viewers —hundreds! — of my post about my trip down to LA had come from the same site — which was actually someone’s e-newsletter. Seems Cruising Compass had picked up the story and republished an excerpt and link in their weekly newsletter and of course also on their home site,, under the heading Website of the Week (A West Coast Journey: Not So Offshore).

Now I in no way mind that they did this, but I do wonder at the lack of permission seeking or even notification. I would never had known about it if I hadn’t investigated the spike in traffic. I originally had thought it was due to my latest post , but quickly realized that it was for a post that was over a month old. That led to discovering the above. But, as they say, any publicity is good publicity…

Movie Time?

Guess who got a new action camera? I picked up a SJ4000 from 6mega for only $120. I decided to go for it after watching a review of different underwater cameras by Gone with the Wynns. It comes with an underwater housing and a bunch of mounts. And hey, for 120 bucks how can you go wrong?

Seriously though, I am hoping it will make getting some good sailing footage much easier. Now I just have to wait for sailing season…



My ride home from buying microSD cards. It’s always something…

Twitter Digest